We never could get Venus Fly Traps to stay alive long enough to chomp down on all the nasty summer visitors. Now, with Discovery’s motion activated Trap, just feed it 3 AA batteries (not included) and its sensor will close its “mouth” on bugs without you having to tend it. Add bait if the flying creatures don’t want to go for the pseudo plant and, after they are captured, you can release them or study them for a bit. At a size of 4.25 x 4.25 x 9-inches, the plastic VFT will set you back $19.95.
Read More | Discovery Channel Store
Researchers have devised a machine that can analyze the flavor of coffee. With a built-in electronic taster, it can determine more than 1,000 substances that go into java’s aroma by studying its gases. So far the scientists feel that it can assess espresso as well as its human counterpart. Switzerland’s Christian Lindinger and his team will report their findings in the March issue of Analytical Chemistry. We can’t wait until they place one into a Denny’s and tell them that the coffee they use in pre-packaged containers are probably double the amount of grounds that they need.
Read More | Live Science
British drone makers from the GFS Projects, who have been given a research contract from the U.S. Army, will be flying (literally) back across the pond to partake in the Grand Challenge in August. They will be entering one of their 31-inch diameter saucers which they feel, according to the competition rules, is an “autonomous or semi autonomous system designed to detect, identify, monitor and report the position of a wide range of threats within a complex military urban environment, including within individual buildings.”
So if you think you espied a UFO kicking around the planet sometime, you may be seeing the real thing.
Read More | Wired
After the FDA did their homework, they came to the conclusion that iPods probably won’t interfere with pacemakers. After a scare when a high school student said he detected electrical interference, the agency may not have thought much of it, but just to be sure…
Several models’ magnetic fields were used in the test with a saline bag substituting for a human body along with the voltage delivered inside of the pacemaker by iPods. While the results of the testing is great news for music fans, if you have a pacemaker, remember to keep away from those microwave ovens.
Read More | Far East Gizmos
We understand assembly lines pumping out electronic gadgets at unholy speeds so that the masses can have their toys. But when the FDA announced that cloned beef is acceptable to eat once the USDA has determined that we are “used to the idea,” we just had to wonder. Whatever happened to natural foods? We are still getting accustomed to the hormones injected into our meat that causes puberty in children a few years earlier than seems natural. Genetically altered grain runs rampant. But do we really want to eat a poor animal who has been created solely through scientific means? Should that be considered organic? What do you guys think?
Read More | Washington Post
While at CES, we got the opportunity to check out the AMD Smart House. The Smart House is a demonstration by AMD of all the different ways that their processors can help enhance day-to-day life of every day consumers. The Mother/Father/Daughter/Sun schtick is a bit thick at times, but the potential of the smart home of the future shines through nonetheless.
Chan-Hui Lee and his team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology purport that someday we will be able to listen to music within a Personal Sound System that will not bother others standing outside it. Their prototype features 9 1/2-inch speakers arranged in a row. They found that there was a 20 decibel difference between the center and the outside, comparable to a regular conversation and a whisper. Lee foresees the technology being utilized eventually for cell phones and PDAs. We would just settle for using it on the neighbors’ backyard barbecues.
Read More | Live Science
This is another holiday-related story we couldn’t resist. Scientists in Israel have inscribed all of the Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible onto a silicon surface that is less than 0.01 square inch. It took them only an hour to etch all 300,000 words by blasting gallium particles at an object that rebounded and caused the effect. Ohad Zohar, adviser at Technion Institute foresees the technology as a means of storing large amounts of data on DNA and bio-molecules. We wonder if anyone will get the chance to proofread the book.
Read More | RBNI
If you have already had your post-Thanksgiving nap, you might be interested to know that the molecule tryptophan may have another use besides making you nod off. Researchers from Oxford University say that the chemical precursor to serotonin may also induce trust. Volunteers were given a drink that depleted their tryptophan. Although the final results are not in from the experiments, they found that when they reduced it, the chemical also lowered “the reward value of cooperating.” We just wonder why every family Thanksgiving feast we have ever attended has ended in a tussle.
(Happy Turkey Day!)
Read More | Technology Review
Have a future astronaut at home? Or maybe you just like the, um, “comfort” of a little extra moonlight in the room with you at night? Check out Moon In My Room, a remote controlled nightlight with a detailed lunarscape that displays 12 phases of the moon. The light sensor makes sure that there’s always a little moonlight around, and the three hanging angles make sure that your view is perfect. Included with your purchase are lunar phase calendar and an audio CD with a lesson in moon-ology and space. The lamp measures 10” in diameter and requires 4 AA and 2 AAA batteries (we’re guessing the AAAs are for the remote).